This may look like something captured with Instagram on the newest smartphone, but it’s something a bit different indeed. It is the first photograph taken in Finland, ever. The photo dates back to the year 1842, and celebrated its 170th birthday last Saturday, November 3rd.
The photograph is a daguerreotype, one of the earliest photography techniques (check out the Wikipedia link for an interesting read). It was taken in Turku, which coincidentally also is Finland’s oldest city, though obviously not the only city at the time. The photographer was Henrik Cajander, a doctor by trade who lived on the very street the photo was taken.
The building in the picture was called the Nobel house, and it was located on the corner of Uudenmaankatu 8 (map). The beautiful building had just been finished when the photo was taken. It was later, after several stages of re-modelling and renovations, demolished by the City of Turku in 1961.
As you can see the photo isn’t exactly perfect, technically or aesthetically speaking, but it is a big part of the history in Finnish photography. Some might call the crooked composition an amateur mistake, but the photographer was, in the realest sense, an amateur at what he was doing.
As of right now, the city of Turku publicly displays a “life size enlargement” of the photograph above. It is located at the very spot where the building used to be.